"Run Lyadare! We have to make it to the falls!" Bronwyn urged.
"I'm going as fast as I can! They got me quite good in the leg." Lyadare rushed through the trees as quickly as his gimp leg would allow. He glanced down for just a moment, assessing the damage. It looked bad; blood poured down his leg from the large gash. The Recreants were ruthless and they had worked mercilessly to perfect the Malbyra's magic. Their ice shards where painful and could cause quite a bit of damage.
Bronwyn looked back to see if Lyadare was okay. He was in a lot of pain; she could see it clear as day on his face. "There's an abandoned shack up ahead. Let's stop and rest for a bit. I'll wrap your leg for you."
"I'll be o…." Bronwyn turned to looked at him. She always had the most convincing look of concern. He hated that look; it meant he would have to give in and do what she said. Bronwyn was the only woman who could change his mind on any subject. "Oh alright, I guess having my leg wrapped can only help."
Lyadare sank down in the corner of the small shack. There were holes in the walls large enough to see through, but it was dark outside and there was enough room against the walls to hide from any passing soldiers. Bronwyn took out a knife and gently cut the fabric from Lyadare's calf. The gash was large, but a clean cut. She pulled some thread and a needle from her pouch and got to work. After a few quick stitches, she wrapped his leg with the little bit of gauze she had remaining.
"Any other injuries will need to be cauterized," Lyadare thought.
"All done. How do you feel? Will you be able to continue?" She was clearly worried.
"Oh Bronwyn, I am fine. We will need to…"
"Shh… Did you hear that?" Bronwyn interrupted.
They sat still, listening for breaking twigs and the sound of voices. There. Someone was outside. Lyadare caught his breath and leaned to the side, peeking through the closest hole in the wall. A Malbyra guard stood just a few feet from them. He made a quick check around the building before relieving himself on the nearest bush. Lyadare sat back stifling an annoyed huff. After a minute, he turned back to see if the he had left. The guard looked around again before his music began. At first it was a soft hum. Then suddenly he released the most beautiful sound Lyadare had ever heard. The tree next to the soldier began to wither and die.
"How could something so beautiful cause such death?" Lyadare wondered. He heard the sound of twigs breaking move further and further away. He's gone. Lyadare grabbed the pouch at his hip. The stones were still there. HHHHe pulled one out and looked it over. It was a perfectly smooth, oval stone. "Who would ever think a river stone that fit perfectly in the palm of your hand could bring such power… such destruction?" Lyadare knew the power he held in his hands. He had fought it many times in the arena before the Recreants took power. "Soon enough the Recreants will be stripped of their power and destroyed. The stones will be left to seek out new champions and the world will be at peace once again."
"Okay, it is time to go my darling. Are you ready?" Lyadare had cared dearly for Bronwyn from the moment he first laid eyes on her. They met years before their first battle in the arena, while on their journey to become champions.
Lyadare sat hiding in a tree. He wanted to approach the goddess he saw standing near the river, but he just sat, admiring her beauty. He couldn't bring himself to move. His heartbeat thumped harder with each passing second. He was sure she would soon hear it and discover him hiding there just twenty feet from where she stood. She had long, perfectly curled, blonde hair. Her skin was the color of caramel and her eyes the color of the sea. He had never seen a more beautiful creature in his life. She wore a long, cream colored dress that hung loosely around her body. The dress had a gold trim along the top falling from her left shoulder and coming to rest just above her right breast. After what seemed like hours, Lyadare finally brought himself to move from the trees. He stopped a few feet shy of the beauty, stuttering a hello. He had always been quite shy around women. She glanced up at him in the most alluring way he had ever seen before returning the greeting.
'I'm Bronwyn and you are?
'Oh… Umm... I'm Lyadare. I'm searching for my stone. I didn't mean to intrude.'
'I see. Well I guess we can help each other, since I am doing the same. I suppose you are to be a champion as well?'
'I… I am.'
'I can feel it pulling me to the water. I think it is at the bottom.'
'I can get…' Before he could finish his sentence, Bronwyn dove into the water. She soon resurfaced, stone in hand. After getting past the original shock, Lyadare leapt in to find his own stone.
Lyadare had loved Bronwyn from that first day. She eventually developed feelings for him as well, though she would not always readily admit it. Her feelings for him were the only true reason she did not join the others. She had hated fighting as much as the rest and would have taken up arms in a heartbeat if Lyadare's logic and pleas had not swayed her.
Twenty years earlier, the idea of using champions to fight their battles seemed nearly genius in nature to the leaders of the nations. They would not lose the valuable lives of their soldiers and their disagreements would come to an end after a short bout in the arena. Only one champion would fight instead of hundreds of thousands of strong, able-bodied men. The champion left standing would win the fight for their nation, the other champion would return to life shortly after the battle. All six champions were strong and equally matched. It made for quite the event, leading the nations to gather in money from the people wishing to observe the fights and even more from those betting.
In all actuality, the fighting wasn't so bad as far as Lyadare remembered. It was the coming back to life that was difficult for each of them. Their bodies had to be immersed in the water beneath the falls of Abethkara along with their stone, while the proper incantation is sung. Though it sounds easy enough, the actual process was hell. Lyadare remembered his body feeling as though it was on fire. Suddenly, all the pain of dying was forced back into his mind and then his eyes flew open. Confused at first about his location, he realized he was under water. Panic filled his lungs as he struggled to reach the surface for that first bitter-sweet gulp of air after being brought back. It was this, and not the actual fighting that drove the others to anger.
Shylan had always been impeccable at convincing the others to see things as she did. She was the first to go mad and was probably the worst of the four. It took years but when Shylan finally decided she had had enough, it didn't take much to convince Ailar, Trinju and Boljag to join her in her quest for power. Lyadare, being the champion of intelligence saw through her ploy. He refused to join her and pleaded with Bronwyn to do the same. Bronwyn was hesitant at first, but eventually Lyadare's absolute logic and her love for him swayed her to stay behind. The four became known by the nations as the Recreants, traitors who wrecked havoc on the world.
Though most feared the Recreants and did everything to stay far from their line of sight, they still managed to gain quite the following. These people revered the Recreants, raised them up as gods and did everything in their power to help them succeed in their efforts to rule the world. They called themselves the Malbyra, and hoped to raise themselves above the rest of the nations.
Lyadare and Bronwyn worked together with the Mages of Tinivar, who originally created the stones, to destroy the Recreants and banish the Malbyra to the north, where they would be too focused on survival to cause problems. It was Bronwyn and Lyadare who laid the plan to steal the Recreants stones. They would break into their hold, steal the stones and bring them back to the Mages of Tinivar, where they would be unlinked from their champions, who would then be destroyed. It was a difficult task, but Lyadare and Bronwyn were the smartest of the bunch and had faith that they could pull it off.
Lyadare knew they were close and ran a little faster as he darted through the trees. He could see the edge of the jungle just ahead. They would have to row across the great waters to the island concealing the Abethkara Falls.
"Just a bit further my love!" Bronwyn whispered as they neared the small row boat that lay on the beach ahead of them. The boat was old and rickety, but it would serve its purpose. Lyadare pushed the boat into the water and grabbed and oar as they both climbed in. He looked back to make sure they hadn't been followed and when he felt all was safe, started them on their journey across the water. It would take at least half an hour to get to the island.
The water was mostly calm with gentle waves every now and then. They had picked a good day for their mission. Tropical storms were frequent on Lyshadar. The land was beautiful though, which made living there worth the risk. Lyadare loved the tropical jungles and the beautiful beaches. Even the water was a beautiful clear blue-green color. It was definitely paradise, aside from the current war.
Lyadare felt his tense shoulders relax a bit when they reached the beach on the island. They were almost there; almost free of the Recreants and all the chaos they had brought to the nations. Bronwyn helped Lyadare out of the boat and into the jungle ahead. Running had reopened his wound and Bronwyn could see he was in immense pain, though he wasn't one to complain.
The pair walked as quickly as they could. The falls were just ahead and Lyadare could see three Mages of Tinivar waiting for them. He pulled the pouch from his hip and offered the stones to the head mage, Giludae as they approached.
"Thank you Lyadare and Bronwyn. You have brought peace to this land and that will not soon be forgotten. Do you wish to continue as champions or would you rather I revoke your powers as well?" asked Giludae.
"We wish to live our lives in peace. Though we will happily resume our role as champion should the need arise." Lyadare responded. He and Bronwyn hoped for nothing more than to live out their lives together. They would retire to a small home in the jungle where they could enjoy the world around them together.
"Then I shall not revoke your powers just yet. You will remain champions but until new champions arise, you may do as you wish." With that, Giludae began the ritual. He placed the four stones of the Recreants on the altar they had built beneath Abethkara Falls. As the water flowed over the stones, the three mages began their chant.
"Ashalii burladae aelyshu frooma caliida…" The chanting was a rhythmical song. It was beautiful, each note ringing through the trees clear and distinct. Lyadare could feel the power surrounding them. This was it, the war was ending. He felt a twinge of regret; he had, after all, grown close to his comrades. Despite having to fight them in the arena, they had all become friends. Shylan could be quite charming when she wasn't plotting to take over the world. It seemed unfortunate that such good soldiers had fallen so far and lost their humanity.
The stones emitted a rush of power that blew through the trees, nearly toppling the gimp Lyadare, who was caught off-guard. There was silence.
"It is done. The Recreants have been unlinked from their stones. They are dead." Giludae said solemnly. "You have one task left ahead of you. Help the nations return to a state of peace by banishing the Malbyra to the north. The land is not much more than icy tundra and they will need to focus solely on their survival."
Lyadare thanked the mages and they were off to scatter the four stones, in the hopes that good virtuous champions will rise to serve the nations. He looked at Bronwyn, whose relief was clear on her face. Lyadare pulled her in for a hug and held her close. She pulled him even closer, glad that they both had survived.
A/N: This is just my first draft! Please be as honest as possible! Let me know if anything doesn't make sense, if the names don't jive or you can't pronounce them, if things get confusing or need to be clarified, etc. Also, my husband thinks it's too cheesy... Let me know what you think! Thanks so much!
A/N: I tried to edit the mis-spelled words and incorrect grammar... but my backspace button had other ideas. I'll fix it on Word and repost! :)
A/N: Please please PLEASE leave notes! I really need criticism for my work so that I can make it better! I've had like 8 people read and only one comment. You don't have to be rude if you don't like it, but tell what you do and don't like about it, what parts you think I can change to make it better. Thanks! :)